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Israel's Netanyahu entrusted with forming coalition
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21:16, February 20, 2009

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Israeli President Shimon Peres officially announced on Friday afternoon that he is entrusting Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu with the task of building a coalition, 10 days after the parliamentary election.

Peres said during a joint press conference at the Presidential Residence that Netanyahu has agreed to build the next government.

"Israel needs a stable government," the president added.

Netanyahu called on the leader of Kadima Tzipi Livni and the leader of Labor party Ehud Barak to work with him, adding "I urge all Knesset (parliament) factions to join me in coalition."

Netanyahu, who was previously the 9th prime minister of Israel from June 1996 to July 1999, would then have 42 days to forge a coalition cabinet.

Livni, who is now Israeli foreign minister, reiterated earlier that the centrist Kadima party will likely join the opposition and not sit in a right-wing coalition headed by Netanyahu.


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